General John F. Kelly, the commander of the US Southern Command, praised the ongoing dialogues between the Colombian government and the FARC, the country’s largest rebel group, during a visit to Paraguay, local media reports.
John F. Kelly, a four-star General in the Marine Corps, lauded Colombia’s efforts towards peace. “Realistically, this government’s done an amazing job. They are putting an end to a 50-year purgatory of this scourge. What Colombia did is not so much with its armed forces, but with investment in education, working with people, and occupation of isolated zones where the government did not have presence,” he told reporters.
The general also praised Colombia’s autonomy in the process, stating that there was minimal economic assistance from the United States, reports national newspaper El Espectador.
Kelly’s visit to Paraguay also brought up a question from local reporters about how to combat a guerrilla group currently in Paraguay, the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), to which Kelly stated that they should follow the example of Colombia.
The Colombian Government and the FARC have been in peace negotiations since November of 2012 and are currently taking place in Havana, Cuba. A contentious issue in Colombia, the peace talks monopolized the second round of presidential debates in the recent re-election of Juan Manuel Santos.
A recent uptake in the attacks on energy infrastructure and oil tankers allegedly carried out by the FARC have upset many Colombian citizens and the government. President Santos threatened to halt dialogues stating that, “you are playing with fire and this [the peace talks] will end.”
- Jefe de Comando Sur de EE.UU. alaba estrategia de Colombia para lograr la paz (El Espectador/EFE)